Various Republican senators are joining their House colleagues in looking to put an end to pandemic-era remote work for Federal employees with a new piece of legislation aimed at curbing what they call “laziness” in the Federal workforce.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., introduced the legislation titled “Stopping Home Office Work’s Unproductive Problems Act of 2023,” or the SHOW UP Act, and was joined by Sens. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., Rick Scott, R-Fla., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., Mike Braun, R-Ind., and Steve Daines, R-Mont. The companion legislation comes as the House earlier this year passed a similar bill.
“As the public health emergency officially ends in the United States, so should the pandemic-era telework policies for Federal bureaucrats,” said Sen. Blackburn.
Sen. Blackburn argued that many constituents have not been able to get the services they need from Federal employees due to the “massive backlog created by employees not being in the workplace.”
The bill also focuses on cutting the cost of taxpayers’ money being used improperly and inefficiently, according to the bill’s supporters.
“It’s clear that the COVID-era telework policy of the Federal government is both a waste of taxpayer dollars and inefficient,” said Sen. Scott. “It’s time to change Washington so it actually works for the American people, which means Federal employees need to work from their offices.”
Given that Democrats still hold the majority in the Senate, and widely support expanded telework for Federal employees, the bill has a low chance of becoming law.
However, if it were to become law, the companion legislation calls on all Federal agencies to return to pre-pandemic telework levels within 30 days of the legislation being enacted into law. It also would require all agencies to complete and submit to Congress studies on the effects of telework on their agency’s productiveness within six months.
“Executive agencies have used the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse for laziness for too long. Our public servants should be doing just that – serving the public,” said Sen. Cramer. “Our bill ensures they come back to the office to do the work American taxpayers expect from them.”